If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, make sure to get out to the Highlands or coast as well as to cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. The unspoiled landscapes really are spectacular and well worth a visit. Take a road trip from Edinburgh to Fife and St Andrews. This is a stunning region with a rich cultural and foodie heritage.
Things to Do Near St Andrews, Scotland
St Andrews is easy to reach, being just 10 miles Southeast of Dundee and 30 miles Northeast of Edinburgh. Here are some of the best things to do near and in St Andrews.
1. The Forth Bridge
Heading out of Edinburgh, you’ll soon arrive at the three Forth Bridges. The original Forth Bridge, opened in 1890, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s also the Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing.
2. Golf Courses in St Andrews
After about an hour you’ll arrive in St Andrews, golfing capital of the world. Whilst that might seem quite an extravagant claim, golf has actually been played here since the 15th century.
There are no less than seven public golf courses in St Andrews, with the most famous being the Old Course. Right in the heart of the town, it overlooks the North Sea.
The oldest golf course in the world is one place any golfer needs to play. The town is also famous for its university where Prince William met Catherine Middleton.
3. The British Golf Museum
Located a few minutes from the Old Course, The British Golf Museum has an interesting art installation by Lawrence Holofcener, Faces of Golf features 116 of the sport’s golfing greats.
Eagle-eyed readers will spot the faces of Rory McIlroy, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Jack Niclaus and Mary Queen of Scots who was a keen golfer. There are over 17,000 items of golfing memorabilia inside the museum, which showcases 500 years of golfing history.
4. Coastal Dining in St Andrews
For lunch, we recommend the Seafood Ristorante on Bruce Embankment. It has magnificent sea views over West Sands Beach to the sea.
The restaurant is bright and airy with an open kitchen and pizza oven. They specialize in seasonal Scottish cooking with an Italian twist.
The staff are very friendly and talk you through the menu of seafood specialties. You can see some of the dishes here, as well as our trip to Kingsbarns distillery and all of our adventures in Edinburgh.
Try the hand dived Ardnamurchan scallops, baked in the shell, Asian style as a starter.
A starter of Scottish mackerel with flame grilled young leeks, buttermilk and kohlrabi from the weekday lunch menu was great value at £17.50 for two courses.
Each course is equally impressive, with a superb red mullet, pepperonata and aubergine main course.
Other highlights include fritto misto, East Neuk crab spaghettini pasta with crab, chili and parsley, and a dessert of zabaglione with a homemade Madeleine.
5. St Andrews Castle
You’ll pass St Andrews Castle on the way to your next destination. Allow some time to stop and explore as the ruins are so picturesque. Parts of this former bishop’s palace date from the 13th century and there’s a unique underground mine.
6. Kingsbarns Distillery
From here, head through lovely countryside to one of the area’s top attractions, Kingsbarns Distillery. After all, it would be rude to come to Scotland and not to taste any whisky, wouldn’t it!
Kingsbarns are known for their award-winning whiskies under the Wemyss label. Their connection with the whisky industry goes back to the 19th century.
They’ve recently added gin to their roster, with a fantastic range of flavoured and regular Darnley’s gins.
The building was constructed in around 1800 as part of East Newhall Farm by the ninth Earl of Kellie, Thomas Erskine, It’s been beautifully restored to include a cafe, exhibition and shop.
There’s a vast array of Wemyss malt whiskies, Darnley’s View gins and Rimauresq fine wines. These wines come from the Wemyss family’s Provence vineyard.
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Our experience started with a private guided tour of the museum. It is dedicated to the local area, whisky and gin making.
One of the most impressive features of the building is the “doocot” or dovecot. Back in the day, these 600 terracotta doo boxes housed a flock of pigeons. The ones below are not real but they had us fooled for a few minutes!
You’ll learn a lot about the history of whisky and get to tour the distillery itself. Barley grown in Fife is combined with pure mineral-rich water in an aquifer, then milled, mashed, fermented and distilled. Only 33 casks a week are made, with maturation in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years.
There are three different tours including a tasting session and a tour of Darnley’s Gin Distillery is also available. We were shown around by Scott, the Visitor Centre Manager.
The new distillery and tasting area is located in a former farmer’s cottage. There are 2 beautifully furnished taster rooms in the main building. and in addition to the gin and whisky tasting, they’re thinking about offering an afternoon tea and gin experience which should prove popular.
Visitors really enjoy tasting the different gins including their small batch gin infused with elderflower and citrus, as well as the distinctive spiced gin.
Kingsbarns is only a few metres away from the beach. There are many foodie producers along the coastal route, including the Ardross Farm Shop, so leave plenty of time to explore the local area.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of St Andrews and Fife, and that is has whetted your appetite to visit. This area of Scotland is not to be missed!
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